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Make America Pay For the Wall

Updated on April 20, 2016

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Trump has just released his official policy that details exactly how he would make Mexico pay or his (im)famous wall. In this article I will discuss the specific reasons his official policy will not work.

Before I discuss his new plan to make Mexico pay I would like to introduce some of the problems the wall has in the first place. Even if Mexico will pay (they won't) there is still a number of serious problems with his plan that his press release still does not detail any solutions to:

1. Trump can't even figure out how much it will cost. If Trump wants us to think that he is proposing serious policies he has to be able to at least pretend to be able to answer basic questions about his proposals. Basic questions like, "How much would it cost?" Trump has proven he doesn't really know the answer to that basic question.

When he first proposed the plan he said that the wall would cost $4 billion. not much later he said it would cost 6 or 7 billion. Later he said it would cost $10 billion. And now recently he has said it might cost $12 billion.

It seems like he hasn't even tried to figure out the cost and is simply throwing numbers around. Well the numbers he's used don't even match what analysts that have tried to break down the cost have said.

How can we take this plan seriously if Trump won't take it seriously enough to figure out the basic logistics of his own plan. I don't think you could even call this a plan with the amount of thought he has put into it.

2. Trump has not considered the depreciation of the wall. Who will pay to maintain the wall? Mexico? Why hasn't he even brought this up? Has he even thought of it? Who knows, but no matter what it is a major problem for his wall

3. As the above graphic demonstrates Trump doesn't even know how long his proposed wall would have to be. Seriously, how can you propose a plan and not know basic logistics of how it would work?

4.Mexico can't pay for the wall.

one MXN=0.05 USD

Mexico spends 1,531,954,000,000 MXN which is approximately $76,597,700,000 the government only makes a fraction of that: $25,800,750,000.

The wall as shown in the above Washington Post article could easily cost $24 billion, and it would depreciate on top of that. Mexico would have to almost all their revenue for the whole year to make Trumps "one time payment for the wall." How can they do that when their government already runs of deficit of billions of dollars a year?

There are more objections but I want to stick to talking about the financial aspect for the moment.

Mexico to Pay How Much?

The full statement made by Trump can be read here for reference:

He want's them to give a one time payment of $5-10 billion. But Trump himself has said that the wall "might" cost more than that. He went so far as to say it could cost $12 billion. He thinks the wall will cost more than he wants Mexico to pay. I thought Mexico was going to pay for the whole thing, what happened to that? Maybe Trump should check his own math to make sure they pay for the whole thing, or he should revise his "branding" of the wall and admit that we will have to pay for at least part of it.

Even using his own numbers Trump won't be able to get Mexico to pay for the entire thing, but, again, analysts have said the cost could easily double that figure. If Mexico pays $10 billion the American people will likely have to pay at least an additional $14 billion. Mexico won't even fund half the required amount for the wall based on Trumps official plan. This is obviously a major problem in his policy that he seems to be oblivious to.

Not only will Mexico not pay for even half the wall they will be forced to make a "one time payment." One time? Seriously? As I mentioned earlier, the wall will depreciate, and that will be very expensive. Mexico won't pay for that, we will. Again Trump can't or won't even try to address this obvious problem with his plan.

All his plans have been purposefully vague, and when he does make official statements like this one he overlooks obvious problems with his policies. He can't write a single policy with any real substance that doesn't have some obvious issues that he seems to have missed.


Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy “Trump is giving an extremely broad definition of this section of the Patriot Act and what it allows, and it’d surely be litigated.”

Experts are sure that Trumps plan will lead to litigation. Litigation that it is unsure if Trump could win. If he would lose the case his plan falls apart. If he would win, he still would waste taxpayers time and money on an expensive court case. A presidents first act in office should not be something that will get him sued.


While Trumps plan may not even be legal it definitely is not feasible. He claims in his memo that he can refine what an "account" is and use that definition to keep illegal aliens from transferring money back to Mexico.

That sounds like a logistic nightmare. As current President Obama said, "The notion that we’re going to track every Western Union bit of money that’s being sent to Mexico, good luck with that."

I don't see how this plan could possibly work, it's to complex. Not only would it be hard to enforce it would be easy to send money back over anyway. If the plan only stops illegals from transferring money, what's to stop them from getting someone else to send the money? Or use the internet in some way? Is he going to regulate PayPal? There are thousands of ways for them to send their money back. And it would be difficult, or impossible to define all these ways as "applicable financial institutions." His plan depends on being able to change definitions for these services, but he realistically can't do that.

There is no way to change the regulations to make this plan work. Even the proposed plan that he puts forward would result in litigation, if he can win that case he would not win cases allowing him to regulate all the other services that he overlooked in his memo and his plan would completely fall apart.

Also his plan can not stop normal financial transactions from occurring across the boarder, we won't quite trading with them. It would be very easy to transfer money to Mexico using routine transactions.

Other Concerns

Not only is this plan expensive but it is arguable that the wall would have no real benefit for America. It is doubtful that it would stop immigrants from illegally crossing the boarder. It is unlikely it would stop drugs from crossing the boarder as well.

If the wall can't protect us from the things Trump claims it will, what's the justification for building it?

Another consideration is this aggressive strong arming of Mexico could ruin our relationship with the country. There could be serious political fallout and international conflict created by a plan that is ill advised, unthoughtful, rash, and likely has no payout.

Below is a video that voices some other concerns, and it is thoroughly entertaining

Last Week Tonight


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